[based on preliminary data], for the U.S. as whole, total initial claims for unemployment insurance for this week could spike to over 2 million. During the worst week of the Great Recession, the last week of March 2009, claims reached 665,000.

... The first month of major job losses during the Great Recession was February 2008, when the economy shed 906,000 jobs. The effect rippled throughout 2009, and during the entirety of the Great Recession about 8.5 million jobs were lost. A similar multiplier would place total job losses from the current recession at ... 37 million... using back-of-the-envelope math, that implies a rise in the unemployment rate to about 27% -- even higher than the 20% Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has warned as possible. It would exceed the highest unemployment on record, 24.9%, set during the Great Depression. To repeat: These are rough estimates based on early data.

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